Catching My Breath After Diagnosis

So much to say…

The trip to the endocrinologist went like I thought; the trip to the allergist didn’t.

I’ve spent the last few days processing the information while running around like a chicken with my head cut off doing soccer booster club/end of season things. I’m the kind of person who needs some quiet downtime to settle and reflect, and I’ve had precious little. I’m glad to have today to catch my breath.

Food Allergies and Workouts

The allergist diagnosed me with food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis. She did testing in the office and it turns out I’m allergic to lots of things, and I’m highly reactive.

What evidently happened in Tulsa was that I ate something I’m reactive to and that, combined with the allergens in the air that I’m reactive to, was magnified by my exercise.  So these separate things, all by themselves, are not enough of a problem to send me into a huge episode, but the exercise heightens everything…and THAT sends me over the edge.

What it means is that I need to carry an EpiPen in case of attack and, ideally, I need to always run with someone. I will need to know my food triggers and avoid eating those things within 4 to 6 hours of exercising and while I’m exercising. I need to be conscious of the pollens in the air and adjust accordingly (like, work out inside if things are in the “high” range).

Honestly, it all scared me (which is what the doc intended). I ran with my friend Dr. Stephanie on Thursday and I’d half-hoped that she’d pooh-pooh things and tell me that the allergist over-reacted. But she didn’t; she confirmed and commmiserated and cajoled. Yes, I need to carry the EpiPen; yes, I’m going to need to watch those things (food and allergens in the air); yes, I’m going to have to make some significant changes in the way I run; and yes, it sucks. I’m going to have to think about distances in a race or route and whether I would have access to care if I had an episode. She told me a question to ask would be about failure rates; in other words, what percentage of time does the EpiPen (even the dual dose one) not contain an attack?  In all likelihood, I won’t have as much time to get care as I did in Tulsa…because the next reaction is usually more severe. And that’s the really scary part.

Working with a Nutritionist on Food Allergies

I felt better after talking to Meredith Terranova yesterday about the food issues. Once I get the rest of my test results in, I’m going to send her my food triggers and then she and I will sit down and devise a plan.

It will be a pain in the ass, somewhat; I’ll have to carry a lot of my own food at races, and I won’t be able to just rely on the pre-race provided pasta dinner any more. And the higher reactive foods I’ll probably just have to cut out of my diet altogether, since I want a bit of flexibility in my schedule and the option to workout more than once a day (or I may be working out all day long).

As she said, I’ll have the cleanest diet of my life here in a bit.

She also posed an interesting question for me — I’m a healthy person with a healthy lifestyle, so are these unusual and severe health issues that have come up in the last year connected in some way? (She’s talking about my whole weird what’s-wrong-with-Leah after NYC a year ago November.) It’s a question worth investigating.

So, running-wise, I’m putting together my little pack I need to carry and going easy and staying close to support. And I’m not thinking right now about 100-milers or Ironman until I get a grip on the food — which doesn’t mean I’m giving up on those things yet.

I’m just working through the problem, step by step.

Family Stuff

Last soccer game of the regular season tonight is against Vista Ridge; if Westwood wins, they’ll be No. 1 in District for the first time in forever! It will be a great match, what with recognizing the seniors and Vista Ridge fighting for a playoff place.

Tomorrow, we drive to Katy to pick up our girl from the basketbal tourney. Lots to do, lots of fun. I hope to fit in a bike ride with my boys or a run with friends in and around all this.

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

0 thoughts on “Catching My Breath After Diagnosis

  1. wow…

    what a life changing event. i know your strong spirit will carry you through this. it sounds like the hardest part is all of the change you have to make. i dont have a lot of time currently due to the birth of my son but i am getting a jogger stroller next week so i would love to run if you need a buddy sometime. but i am only up to 3-5 miles right now. take care!!

    1. Re: wow…

      Oh, congrats on your baby–I feel so behind; I\’m not sure I knew you\’d had your little boy, so if I\’m \’way late in good wishes, I apologize.

      Do let me know when you get your jogger and would like company–it\’s always wonderful to have somebody to get out there with.

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